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Oh no.

So, the background necessary to this story is that I have had the same best friend since first grade. We went to school together for twelve years, and we have never had a fight. She has been there for me for everything, as I have been there for her. We were fairly similar throughout elementary / junior high / high school. In some ways she was calmer and more reserved. I used to call her my conscience because I needed her advice on all my big decisions (even though she did the same for all of her big decisions.) We joked that she was Jekyll and I was Hyde. Now, enter college. I chose the big state school three hours south of where we grew up. I got to an SEC school with 30,000 people where football is a religion. She chose a tiny, private, Church of Christ school three hours north of where we grew up. It has less than 7,000 students and is fondly nicknamed the "marriage factory." Needless to say, our college experiences have been vastly different.

So we're both in our third year of college. Her boyfriend's graduating this semester. Last semester she came to me with a Big Question: what would I think if she & her b/f got married at the end of this coming summer?

Now, they have been dating since her first semester at the university. I've known for a while they were going to get married, but we'd always assumed it would be after she graduated. We spent a couple hours talking about it, and in the end I told her they had my blessing to get married that early. After some discussions with her parents, they pushed it back to this coming Christmas. Okay. I'm still fine with that.

Did I mention I'm single?

So tonight we're talking about how she just told one of her good (married) friends from church that she & her b/f are getting married sooner than expected. She's laughing about how her friend is wedding crazy, and how this woman went on and on about photographers and florists and all kinds of wedding advice. And then she said "wow, I guess you'll meet her. I mean, you might have before, but not like with planning a wedding." So that means we're both in the bridal party.

And then it hit me:
I am going to be the un-married, un-engaged woman who goes to a public party school. I am going to plan a wedding, and a bridal shower, and a bachelorette party with women who don't drink, don't dance, and probably pity me for my lifestyle. I would like to say that my best friend and I are /still/ best friends, and we talk about everything, and she does not think less of me for not having her type of life. I don't think less of her for having her type of life. I would also like to say that, for going to the school I do, my life is very tame. I go to nearly all of my classes, I have a 3.9 GPA, I only get really drunk a couple times a semester -- even during football season. (And oh do I love football.)

I am super excited for her about this wedding. I can't wait to be a part of it. I can't wait to see her dreams come true. But the realization of who else would be involved just hit me, and my imagination supplied in vivid detail the awkward, stomach-churning feeling of answering questions and receiving Those Looks from all of these other women. I would be the social pariah of the "marriage factory" university.

And getting married is what I want to do! I want to be a housewife -- I know, I know, I'm a feminist too. I understand that women should not be confined to traditional gender roles, but, as a feminist I think I should be able to choose that traditional gender role if I damn well please. And I do. I want to get married and tend house and cook for my husband and raise our children. I share that with these women! But will they be able to look past the fact that I probably won't be married within a year of graduating college? Will they be able to look past my love of whiskey and clubs?

It's months away, I know. But it'll be such a trip to see how the getting-to-know-you goes with the rest of the bridesmaids.
I am constantly amazed at the number and variety of experiences in life. Every day we are presented with so much, if we'd just take a deep breath and go for it. And, often, we're presented with so much whether we like it or not. The world is often not content with letting you repeat the same things for years. Isn't that fabulous?

Sure, there are horrendous experiences. Things that you wish life had never handed you. Your best friend's mom dying on Easter weekend senior year of high school. Five years wasted at a job you hated, waiting for a promotion that never came. A divorce. Looking in his eyes when he's down on one knee with a ring in his hand and having to say 'I just can't.'
Or even little things, like breaking a nail the same day you got a manicure, or spilling Coke on your shirt when you really looked good that day.

But isn't it all worth it, to live in a world where there will always be something new if you so choose?


Juxtaposition: maybe he really is into me.

So last week I met this guy, and on Tuesday we went on a double date -- which turned out to be one of the most fun dates I have ever been on. He asked if he could call me at the end of it, and I said yes. I am really enjoying this step by step asking for permission, letting me know he's interested in continuing. I'm one of those internet people. I learned how to type before I learned how to write. I've got a livejournal, a twitter, a quillpill, a flickaday, a facebook, and apps for most of them on my iPhone. I'm really plugged in. But you know what? I am loving this no-online-contact thing this guy and I have going. He hasn't even friended me on facebook. He doesn't text. He calls, when he says he will, and we get togther in person. There's none of that ambiguity -- none of that 'are we getting involved, or are we just fbook messaging?'

Tuesday we went on a date, and yesterday he called me to see if we could get together this weekend. I mentioned I was going out dancing (the same bar we met at last week,) and by the end of the conversation he said I could count on seeing him there. And he showed, and we danced, and at the end of the night he reminded me about our date Saturday and asked if he could kiss me goodnight.

So, giddy me, right? I love first dates, first kisses, seeing how things go, getting to know someone new.

Yesterday I started reading He's Just Not That Into You. Now, for background, I always thought I would hate this book. I had a friend in high school who swore by it, but she also said that finding out that I believe in true love was akin to "discovering that someone really believes in the Road to El Dorado or that maybe the Tooth Fairy really DID put that money under my pillow." I'd flipped through it before in bookstores, and I thought it was selling a very specific type of relationship, the type that did not appeal to girls like me. By "girls like me," I mean girls who believe in true love, who enjoy long term monogamous relationships, who consider being married essential to living my life the way I want it (at least, in the long run.) But, remember, I was in high school.

It's about four years since that letter my friend wrote me, comparing love to the tooth fairy. Coming off of an abrupt rejection, I picked up He's Just Not That Into You almost as a joke. It was obvious the guy I had been seeing wasn't that into me: he got a girlfriend, put the relationship on facebook, didn't bother to tell me, and honestly hasn't spoken to me since. I thought it would be an interesting read, as my first foray back into the dating world turned out to be such a spectacular failure.

But then C. entered the picture last week, and I didn't have a chance to start the book until yesterday. I read the multiple introductions and then started into Chapter One: "he's just not that into you if he's not asking you out." The subtitle is "Because if he likes you, trust me, he will ask you out." This book is in question and answer form, girls writing in about their guys, their relationships, and their excuses, and Greg Behrendt responding.

I thought maybe this would be a bad time for me to start reading this book. From flipping through it, I thought it was meant for women who were in angry-at-men mode. I'm in happy-go-lucky-I-have-a-crush mode. I could not have been more wrong. I have laughed out loud at this book. I've called friends to read parts aloud to them. I have now read chapter one and chapter two: "he's just not that into you if he's not calling you (men know how to use the phone.)" And it's reassuring not only to know that if he's 'just not that into me,' life is not over, but also to hear the things said like
"The big question here is, 'Is it okay for a guy to forget to call me?' I'm saying to you, 'No.' . . . he should never forget to call you. If I like you, I don't forget you, ever."
It gives me perspective. And it makes me smile that C. calls when he says he will, takes me on dates -- in short, he hasn't given any of Greg's signs for being not that into me.

And it's helping me suppress my impulse to call him. Don't rush things, I tell myself. He says he will call you, wants to call you, so just chill. Sometimes I feel high maintenence, letting him do 'all the work,' but hell, isn't that what guys do in relationships? I'm a good traditional Southern girl. We went on the double date, and the girl who came with just moved here from way up north, and at one point she pulled me aside and said "J. has paid for everything -- I feel bad." and I said "What do you mean? It's a first date. The guys pay. Don't worry about it; it's how their mommas raised them." We can pull the twenty first century woman-paying-for-a-date on the second or third date. Let him handle the first one. 


My life must be a comedy.

Last week I went to my favorite bar to go dancing with some friends for the first time this semester. It was a fabulous time, as always, and this particular night I happened to meet someone. Let me state for the record that I am always refreshed and pleased when a guy asks if he can dance with me instead of just assuming it's okay. I don't know what it is about the college bar scene that encourages invasion of personal space without permission. I recognize that it can take a lot of courage to go up to a woman and ask her to dance -- so if I am asked, I will say yes, provided I can say yes (no date, no girls' night out, etc.) But I do not feel obligated to dance with someone who walks up and puts his hands on my hips.

So, back to last week. I'm dancing, I meet this guy -- attractive, asks me to dance, thanks me for the dance, comes back later and asks for another dance. At the end of the night he asked if he could have my number, and I agreed.

Next day, nothing. Good, that's typical dating rules. . . I think.

Next day, he called. We did a bit of phonetag, but I wasn't free that night, so nothing.

Today, he calls and suggests a double date for tomorrow evening -- me and a friend, him and a friend. Bowling. I say sure, gotta find out who's free, I'll get back to him.
Now, this situation sounds great. He called: no texting, no finding me on facebook. A double date: I get to bring a friend, which is great insurance for going out with a guy I met at a bar. Bowling: interactive, lots of opportunity for talking, safe but not dinner-and-a-movie.
I hung up and cursed. Single girl friends? I think I've got two. Bowling? Are you serious? I am maybe the world's worst bowler. Is that even the word? Bowler? It's a miracle when I get a triple digit score. I don't care how Clueless it sounds -- I really hate breaking my nails, and it /always/ happens when I'm bowling.
So I spent all day searching for a single girl, or even just a girl in a less-than-super-serious relationship who would be okay with going on the date as a favour. Thankfully this girl I'm not that close to agreed, and she's fun so it'll be our little adventure.

I'm in the middle of more phonetag to work out the details. We'll see how this turns out.


I have been single for 34 days.

We had been dating one year, two months, and one day -- not counting the "break" we were on for the last month. I have been single for 34 days, and I am still trying to figure out if, in the quiet moments, I am sad or simply bored. It's midnight, spring semester starts tomorrow, and for the past hour I've been lying in bed watching Sex in the City season one. So I ask myself as I lie alone in my satin and lace chemise, watching a show about (thus far) chronically single women, am I filling my time so I don't realize that I'm lonely or sad?

It doesn't make sense that I'm filling time -- am I writing this only in subconscious imitation of Carrie's monologue-delivered newspaper columns? Well, sure, why not? After all, in the past 34 days I have been happier than I have been since June. But I know me, and I am terrible at being single, so I wonder.

And even in the space of writing these few lines, I smile at how young I seem. No, I am not staying busy to avoid the reality of my life, and I should not write overly verbose LJ posts about a question I have no problem answering. "Am I sad, lonely, and depressed?" No. I just usually am when I'm single. It's so heartening to realize it's only habit making me wonder.

I have been single for thirty four days. What else is going on?

Tell you later.